Théo Bretin

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Théo Bretin

Theo-Bretin 1932.jpg

Théo Bretin in 1932
BornLouis Bretin
(1879-01-11)11 January 1879
Saint-Gengoux-le-National, Saône-et-Loire, France
Died 12 July 1956(1956-07-12) (aged 77)
Chagny, Saône-et-Loire, France
Nationality French
Occupation Teacher
Known for Deputy for Saône-et-Loire

Théo Bretin (born Louis Bretin, 11 January 1879 – 12 July 1956) was a French teacher and socialist politician who was deputy for Saône-et-Loire from 1914 to 1919 and again from 1924 to 1928.

Saône-et-Loire Department of France

Saône-et-Loire is a French department, named after the Saône and the Loire rivers between which it lies.


Early years

Louis Bretin was born on 11 January 1879 in Saint-Gengoux-le-National, Saône-et-Loire). He attended the Ecole normale primaire in Mâcon, and qualified as a teacher. He joined the Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière (SFIO: French section of the workers' international), and in 1899 founded the socialist group of the Épinac mining center. [1] He used the pseudonym "A. Théo", which sounds in French like "atheist". [2]

Saint-Gengoux-le-National Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Saint-Gengoux-le-National is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.

Mâcon Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Mâcon, historically anglicised as Mascon, is a city in east-central France. It is the prefecture of the department of Saône-et-Loire in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. Mâcon is home to over 34,000 residents, who are referred to in French as Mâconnais. The city gave its name to the nearby vineyards and wine 'appellation'.

Épinac Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Épinac is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department located in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.

Bretin was secretary-general of the Jeunesses Laïques de Chalon (Secular youths of Chalon) in 1904, and the next year was elected deputy secretary general of the socialist federation. In 1905 at a conference on working class action in the event of war he was censured for "unpatriotic proposals." [2] He probably influenced Marie Guillot, another teacher from Saône-et-Loire, to become a socialist. She went on to become prominent in the syndicalist movement. [3]

Marie Guillot French trade unionist

Marie Guillot was a teacher in Saône-et-Loire and a pioneer of trade unionism in primary education. She associated the social emancipation that syndicalism would bring with the empowerment of women. An anarcho-syndicalist, she was a member of the national leadership of the Confédération générale du travail unitaire in 1922–1923. She was active in the struggle of the anarchists, who believed in a decentralized or federal organization of workers' syndicates, against the communists who believed in a central organization.

In 1908 Bretin and Guillot were among those involved in organizing a section of the teacher's federation in Saône-et-Loire. [2] On 7 November 1905 the government had made it clear that it was illegal to form a teacher's union. Guillot was brought before the school inspector on 29 May 1908, and Theo Bretin on 1 June 1908. They used different lines of defense: Guillot said she had the right to form a section of a federation which was, if not legal, at least tolerated. Bretin said that the section was not a union, and the proof was that it had not filed statutes. Both, however, were forced to dissociate themselves from the federation to avoid sanctions. [4]

Bretin became a councilor and then mayor of Chagny, Saône-et-Loire. [1]

Chagny, Saône-et-Loire Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Chagny is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.


In the general elections of 26 April and 10 May 1914 Bretin was elected in the second round of voting for the second district of Chalon-sur-Saône. He was an outspoken supporter of a radical reform of the tax system, education reform and the establishment of the United States of Europe. He joined the Socialist Group, and was a member of the Commissions of education and fine arts, tax legislation, the merchant navy, economic reorganization and the army. When World War I (July 1914 – November 1918) began he was drafted into the 59th Territorial Infantry. He was promoted to lieutenant and transferred to the 65th Territorial regiment on 6 March 1915. He later returned to the chamber, where he was intensely active, participating in numerous debates. [1]

Chalon-sur-Saône Subprefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Chalon-sur-Saône is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in eastern France.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

In the general election of 16 November 1919 Bretin was placed second on the Socialist list. He was defeated by the Republicans. In the elections of 11 May 1924 he was placed third on the Socialist list, and was one of five returned. In the general elections of 22 and 29 April 1928 Bretin suffered a setback in the Macon district, losing to Vincent Jacoulat in the second round. [1]

Later career

Betin retired to Chagny in 1928. [1] He continued to be active in the SFIO. In 1937 he was a member of the Commission administrative permantente (CAP), the leadership of the SFIO. The others were René Cabannes, Xavier Magnien, Chatignon and Perigaud. [5] During World War II (1939–1945) he supported Paul Faure. After France was liberated in 1944 he was excluded from the CAP due to his complaisance with the Vichy regime. [6] Théo Bretin died in Chagny on July 12, 1956, aged 77. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jolly 1977, p. 758.
  2. 1 2 3 Liszek 1994, p. 54.
  3. Liszek 1994, p. 31.
  4. Liszek 1994, p. 55.
  5. Lynch 2002, p. 132.
  6. Berstein 2000, p. 44.